Have Love Will Travel: An Interview with Lilian Sundevall

by Lilian Sundevall

Originally from Sweden, Lilian followed her heart to Australia and quickly established herself as one of Sydney’s most exciting young chefs. We feel so lucky to have her join the nourish community, and after one meal at Edition Coffee Roasters, you’ll feel pretty lucky too.

What led you to Australia from Sweden?
The reason I moved to Sydney was because of love. I met my wonderful Aussie boyfriend, Ryan, on a trip to Estonia a few years ago. I really liked him so I invited him over to Sweden where he stayed with me for a week. We both fell for each other pretty hard so we thought it would be a good idea for me to move. And it sure was a great idea. We are still together and the love only seems to grow stronger.
Has the food culture in Sydney changed the way you cook? If so, can you describe how?
It certainly has opened my eyes to more different food cultures. I lived in America for a year where I was exposed to some new ideas, but I wasn’t influence nearly as much as I have been from Australian cooking. The Australian kitchen is so broad and the produce here is amazing. I feel very lucky living in a country where the idea of food seems to be like an endless journey through different cultures. So I can happily say that I have become more like that as well.
Edition Coffee Roasters, has been described as Japanese Nordic Fusion. Do you feel this is an accurate description? How would you describe the food at Edition Coffee Roasters?
To some extent, yes. We use ingredients that are typical for Scandinavia and Japan and we put our own twist on it. The dishes might not be typical dishes either of the countries, but they sure are inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese food. We might not serve you what you would get if you visit a Swedish or Japanese grandmother, but we are inspired by the two cultures.

"I feel very lucky living in a country where the idea of food seems to be like an endless journey through different cultures."

Do you think gender plays a role in cooking? Do you think there’s such a thing as cooking like a woman or cooking like a man?
There might be some stereotypical ideas out there but I really do not reflect on genders when it comes to cooking. I am also Swedish which overall means that gender roles not play a big part in my life. I am lucky to come from a culture where we have come pretty far in that area. Something more countries should learn from. Just saying.
Loud and clear...How does your cooking at home differ from cooking at the restaurant?
Edition is limited to only Scandinavian or Japanese ingredients whereas my kitchen is unlimited. I love to cook food from all over the place, it is important to me. I like variety and to explore. Ryan and I share a passion for food and travel. He is a great cook and we enjoy cooking together. We like to cook healthy and delicious food.
What’s the difference between being inspired by a dish and stealing a dish?
I think being inspired by a dish means that you use a certain dish as a guideline to create something that is your own, but with that dish, or an element of it, in mind. Stealing a dish is different. It would be something you copy and pretend you came up, ignoring the fact that the idea actually was someone else's.
Who are some of the cooks who’ve inspired, or impacted your cooking?
I like Jamie Oliver and what he does. I also like the Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt, he is a down to earth kind of guy that respects the ingredients and he creates simple and amazing food.
What outside of food inspires your cooking?
I am a pretty creative person. I used to study fine arts and I love to paint. Colour and design have a big part in my life and it affects a big part of what I do, so also my cooking. Food I cook is usually pretty colourful. I also care a lot about our environment so I try to buy produce that won't effect it too much in a negative way. I am growing a lot of my own herbs and also some vegetables. I also have my own worm farm. I feed the worms with leftovers and as an exchange they give me a liquid that is super nutritious for my plants. Happy worms, happy plants, happy me.

"The best source of food inspiration often comes from recipes posted by home cooks."

What’s getting you excited in the Sydney food scene at the moment? Where do you like to eat?
Sydney is a great city to dine in. There are so many good options for different kinds of cuisines and it is exciting to see more and more stuff constantly emerge. Some of my favourite restaurants at the moment are Bloodwood and Lumi. Alpha is a good place to go in the CBD and Three Williams is one of my favourites for breakfast. I also enjoy going to New Shanghai for some dumplings.
Do you keep up with any food related media? Books, magazine, blogs, TV shows etc.
I look for recipes online quite a lot. I like to get inspired by amazing people out there that have a passion for food. The best source of food inspiration often comes from recipes posted by home cooks. There is nothing precious about it, which I like. They do it because of a love of food, and not to get any customers to their restaurant or anything like that. That is pure and inspiring.
Now that more home cooks have a platform (blogs, social media etc) it’s so good to see talented chefs, like yourself, also learning from home cooks. Do you have any “chef tips” for good “home cooks” who want to get better at cooking for others, entertain and create a better dining experience all round?
Get out of your comfort zone and try something new that seems a bit challenging. That said, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with complexity. Challenge yourself step-by-step to learn more techniques that will improve your skills as a cook. I also think it is important to use good quality ingredients. The produce has to be good to get the best results. Work with what is in season and have fun with it. When hosting a dinner, make sure to cook food you can prepare beforehand so you don't have to be cooking and miss out on the fun conversations. Also, try to be creative with your presentation. Turn your food into a piece of art. I promise it will be appreciated.

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Lilian has 5 recipes available on Nourish
White Chocolate Coconut and Rhubarb Jelly.
Sous Vide Beef Fillet, Horseradish and Wasabi Sauce on Knackebrod
Potato and Rosemary Pizza

About the Author

Lilian Sundevall

Originally from Sweden, Lilian followed her heart to Australia and quickly established herself as one of Sydney’s most exciting young chefs. We feel so lucky to have her join the nourish community, and after one meal at Edition Coffee Roasters in Darlinghurst, you’ll feel pretty lucky too. “The... Read Full Bio

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